2021 reviews in review

Kia ora! It’s been, yet again, a minute. In lieu of actually brand-spanking new content, here’s a round-up of my book reviews on RNZ throughout 2021. Yes, it’s the year I got back into the Unity Books radio reviewage chair, and this time around it was all RNZ, all the time, none of the regional talk radio ones of yesteryear.

February – Bestiary, by K-Ming Chang

March – The Death of Francis Bacon, by Max Porter

April – Black Brother, Black Brother, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

May – Displaced, by Cristina Sanders

June – Temporary, by Hilary Leichter

August – Assembly, by Natasha Brown

September – Julia and the Shark, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

October – The Shut Ins, by Katherine Brabon

November – The Country of Others, by Leïla Slimani

And December – Wild Pets by Amber Medland

At some point I think I might gather together all my notes from the reviews and post them, because I think there’s something a little interesting about seeing the thoughts on the page and then what actually comes out of one’s mouth when the mic is hot and it’s time to go.

But because I like data crunching, here are a few observations:

9/10 books were written by women

3/10 books were targeted at younger readers (1 YA, 2 middle grade)

10/10 books were fiction (whoops)

5/10 books were written by women of colour

4/10 books were written by British authors

1/10 books was originally written in another language and translated (The Country of Others)

1/10 reviews was under 3 minutes

1/10 reviews was over 6 minutes

The average length of a review was 4 minutes, 46 seconds

4/10 books were published by Faber & Faber (unintentional!)

1/10 books was written by a New Zealander (but published by the Australian branch of an international publisher)

This last point is particularly interesting to me, because I’m a massive supporter and reader of local publications. However, by the nature of the RNZ reviewing system, most local content is divvied out to a different batch of reviewers than those of us bookstore-representing cowboys. So oftentimes I’d think YES, I want to review that one! only to discover that it had already been reviewed or was already on the review schedule.

Anyway, that’s a round-up of sorts for your reading and listening pleasure. Enjoy!

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